GLOBE — A full house greeted the announcement of Citizen of the Year and Kip Culver Memorial honors with standing ovations at the recent chamber awards dinner.
The evening was coupled with the Pinal Mountain Foundation for Higher Education scholarship art auction.
The Citizen of the Year award went to Fernando Shipley and Franceen Gregovich-Benton.
Kip Culver Memorial award went to Ray and Karen Webb and to Thea Wilshire.
Shipley, a former Globe mayor, was honored for his extensive work with our youth, through his church youth group and the Boys and Girls Club, now the Cobre Valley Youth Club.
Thea Wilshire announced the award and said her many years of working on community projects with Shipley had given her a great respect for his integrity, enthusiasm and vision.
His efforts also have included being a steward of a 6-mile stretch of the Arizona Trail, and membership of the Miami Rotary, Miami Lions and Pinal Mountain Foundation for Higher Education. He has worked with the Hispanic Elected Officials group, the leadership program Project CENTRL and many similar organizations that strive to give members the foundation to be better leaders. “I can think of no better, more deserving person to be Citizen of the Year,” noted one letter.
Benton also has a long list of accomplishments to her name as she has been active in her native community for decades. Currently she serves on the Tri-City Fire District board and the Cobre Valley Institute of Technology board, as well as the board of the chamber of commerce, where she is also a past president. Benton has served with the Miami School District governing board and has put in many hours through the years on projects benefiting a range of programs that include the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Serbian Cemetery committee, Slavic Cultural Center committee and the Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center Foundation. “Her efforts are always with a goal to make Globe-Miami a better place to live,” according to one letter.
The Kip Culver Memorial Award honors someone who has promoted the arts and cultural heritage of the area or worked on historic preservation.
This year’s winners, Ray and Karen Webb, have been very active with many community organizations during their years here. From Boomtown Spree to 4-H, the Webbs dove head first into community activities. But it has been their work with the Bullion Plaza Cultural Center and Museum and the Fitzpatrick Building in Miami that earned them this year’s accolades. While on the town council, Webb was a supporter of the work being done to preserve the old school that now houses a beautiful museum. Their recent purchase of the Fitzpatrick Building and the ongoing work to restore this gracious building ensures that an essential piece of Miami history will not be lost.
Thea Wilshire’s ongoing work of nearly two decades to bring the Old Dominion Historic Mine Park to fruition has been a labor of love. She has worked tirelessly on the committee, seeking grant money, corporate sponsorships and volunteers to make the park a reality. The city walking park is getting more popular by the day and is a huge tourist draw for the area. With the support of a small committee and under the umbrella of the Gila County Historical Society, Thea has almost single handedly championed the idea of a mining-based park into the park we see today.
Walking trails, signage, artifacts, picnic areas, restrooms and now a handicapped accessible playground make this park one the entire family can enjoy. In addition to the park, Thea has been an active volunteer for projects such as the restoration of the train depot in downtown. She has offered her home several times for the chamber’s Historic Home and Building Tour and has volunteered to act as a hostess many years as well. Thea is a willing volunteer for downtown events such as the Cemetery Tour and similar projects. “Her dedication to and love for the area, its history and its people make her a perfect choice for this year’s Kip Culver Memorial Award,” it was noted.